Sunday, June 16, 2019

Captain Cannon: Voyage of the Ship Iris - Part 8

           On April 12, 1799, the Iris landed in Liverpool after its voyage from Jamaica, along with eight other ships also arriving from Jamaica: (1) the Crescent with Captain Huson; (2) the Lottery with Captain Whittle; (3) the Louisa with Captain Brown; (4) the Augusta with Captain Smith; (5) the Alexander with Captain Coppinger; (6) the Earl of Liverpool with Captain Barnard; (7) the Diana with Captain Ainsworth; and (8) the Brothers with Captain Redmayne.[1] Of the 40 crew that started on the Iris from Liverpool, 9 died, 9 deserted, 16 were impressed and 6 returned to Liverpool.[2]

The following were discharged from the Iris on April 12, 1799: [1] George Cannon (2), who started as 1st Mate and ended as captain; [2] Mahlon Stacy (4), who likely ended as 1st Mate; [3] Erick Ohm, also referred to as Erick Ohrn (6), the Doctor; [4] Thomas Lucas (10); [5] Isaac Broom, also referred to as Jac Broom (13); and [6] Bourd Taylor, also referred to as Taylor (40).      

North America and Iris

In or before May 1799, Captain William Burke filed an appeal of the ruling for the Iris and against the North America in the Jamaica Court of Vice Admiralty on behalf of Edward Stevens and his consignee, James Yard, and then sent the appeal, a copy of the protest and a copy of the court proceeding with the May fleet, under the command of Admiral Bligh, from Jamaica to London, to be given to a mercantile house in London for filing with the Lords Commissioners of Appeals in Prize Causes.  Captain Burke then took passage for London to attend to the appeal and during that voyage was impressed into his Majesty’s service where his own papers concerning the proceeding were lost. The original papers he sent were not filed with the court in London and William Burke could not recall the name of the mercantile house in London he had sent the original papers to. So Captain Burke apparently arranged for another appeal to be filed in London and for a duplicate copy of the appeal, claim and court proceeding in Jamaica to be sent to London for filing.


A letter dated May 4, 1799, from Ralph Fisher to Wm. Dinwiddie in Manchester: “Your favor of the 3d just came in time to prevent me furnishing the Martha’s Insurance at foot Captn Cannon has certified his sailing with Convoy in the Iris, W. Martha is now getting Iris return sign’d off, as well as the other offices”

A letter dated May 20, 1799, from Ralph Fisher to Wm. Dinwiddie in Manchester: “Pray what can you get the Iris done from hence to Africa and a Markett, adding two more Guns to her[,] say 20 in all.  I have got the return of 7 P Ct made by every office in this town for sailing with Convoy, please get yours done and furnish me with a note of it.” Another letter the same date, from Ralph Fisher to Sam I. Taylor and Withingon: “Please order in 10 days for the Iris for the Iris for Angola. Virg
            250 Best Cotton basts as near India as possible
            250                Chiloes                    
            250                Photais                    
            250                Cushteas                   
be choice if you please in the articles.”

A letter dated May 22, 1799, from Ralph Fisher to Bland and Ratterthwaite in London: “Can you get me the Iris cover’d round at 12 gs certain by good men, she is intended for Angola[,] has 20 guns[,] double fortified fours and nine powders, will be well mann’d.” A letter the same date, from Ralph Fisher to Higginson Bernard and Wheler in London: “Have enclosed you four bills as at foot, for the amot of the Iris’s note supplied in May 1798, in your last you were not very explicit in regard to the prices of Angola and Bonny goods, will thank you for them…
/Bill self on Bland and Co                               £135.0.0
/…D Heywoodson Denison and Co                174.6.4
/…D Dennistrond and Co or Denniston Co     512.6.8
/…D Harvey and Co on Bailey and Co           1351.10.6
                                                                        £ 2173.3.6”

A letter dated May 28, 1799, from Ralph Fisher to Chas. Isn. Wheeler and Co.: “Please forward immediately for the Iris, Virg
                                    1000 Byrampauts
                                    250 blue Byjudipauts
                                    250 Neganipauts
                                    420 Narrow Nicanees 14 Yds
                                    420 Tapsails in narrow 14 Yds
                                    900 Guinea Stuffs
                        600 Lomauls, Ashantee Dutch and Bonny blue”

Another letter the same date, from Ralph Fisher to Robinson and Heywood: “Gentn
            Please order in 10 days for the Iris for Angola Virg
            150 all cotton basts as near India as possible
            170 best all cotton chillees
            170 Photaus
            170 Cushteas
            be choice if you please in the articles.”

            A letter dated May 30, 1799, from Ralph Fisher to Robinson and Heywood: “In reply to yours of the 29th have only to say I would not wish you to exceed 14 days and the Photais and Cushteas usually taken to Angola.  I wish 15 basts less than ordered.”

Uncle Toby

            June 8, 1799 – The Uncle Toby arrived in New York. Henry Martin was paid $404 for his services and wages, which was about $30 per month, much more than the $12 a month he was paid at the beginning.


            A letter dated June 13, 1799, from Ralph Fisher to Charles John Wheler and Co. in London: “Have received the Iris’s invoice and documents, hope the carrier will be punctual in the delivery”.

            On June 17, 1799, a Spanish Letter of Marque was issued to George Cannon of the ship Iris, 285 tons burthen, with 20 guns carrying shot of six and nine pounds weight. Letters of Marque and Reprisals were authorized “for apprehending, seizing, and taking, the Ships, Vessels and Goods belonging to the King of Spain, or to any Persons being Subjects or inhabiting within any of the Territories of the King of Spain” after November 11, 1796, which was shortly after France and Spain entered into the Treaty of San IIdefonso.   

            A letter dated June 25, 1799, from Ralph Fisher to Wm. Dinwiddie in Manchester: “Please get insured for me on the Iris[,] Captn Cannon[,] from hence to Africa and a market, by very choice Men £2,500 valuing the ship at £8,000[,] slaves £50 per head, Ivory £20 P __, Palm Oil £40 p ton, don’t give more than 12 Gs PCt round, she is doing in London at 12 to return 2, I give 12 here in Mather and Henderson’s Offices[.] I have put 2 more 9 pounders into her, she now carries 20 guns, if you can’t get it done immediately please advise me, she is now in the [Mersey] River, in expectation of your immediate reply”.

            A letter dated June 26, 1799, from Ralph Fisher to Charles I. Wheler and Co. in London: “Have inclosed you a bill value £1357.10.6 for my ½ division of the Iris’s note, which considering all things hope will prove agreable… My one half of Iris’s note
 discount  £-149.2.3

On July 5, 1799, the Iris left Liverpool for Angola.

            On July 7, 1799, Ralph Fisher, owner of the Iris, wrote a letter to Lindo, Lake and Co. in Kingston, Jamaica. He acknowledged the bills for sales of the Iris “for which I once more repeat my thanks, the produce turned out in good order, save the sugar, the coarse I cannot sell and the fine very indifferent after they were sold[,] on redrawing[,] green sugar being in the middle. In respect to the North America after what has passed in the admiralty with you there can be no appeal, if he does it will cost him some pounds, and he can have no Redress, the affidavits made by the Iris and North America’s crew declares W. Bruces vessel [the Mary] was not in sight, admitting he was, he can have no claim, except he absolutely rendered assistance by some means in the capture, we have many instances of cases being settled against claiments in our admiralty, tho’ very near the vessel captured, but was not assisting.  W. Bruce must think better of it on mature deliberation at same time I expect interest from  the time of sale, until the money is remitted, also damages for his frustrating the sale, I hope you will very soon get it settled and remit me[. I]f you want any indemnity W. Thos Asprinall will give it you on my acco[un]t to any amount will thank you for a remittance with the accts as soon as possible, I hope that will be the case ‘en this reaches you.  If W. Thos Asprinall has left Jamaica[,] Messr Hardy Pennack and Brittan will give you any indemnity on application[.]”

            On July 21, 1799, the Iris logbook states: “At 6 P.M. St. Meary’s Light House Bore:-- E.B.S. Distand 7 Lgs. from witch I take my Departure It Being in Lattitude --- 49..57[,] Longitude--- 06..36  At Trd Ship to ye Wrd St. Mary’s Light House Bearing ENE 9 Legues:-- 4 Ships in Company”

            On July 23, 1799, the Iris logbook states: “At Meridian Saw a Sail to the Southward Standing to the N.Wrd.”

            On July 24, 1799, the Iris logbook states: “At 1 P.M. Trd Ship to Ye N.W. The Ship Lottry Spoke the Before Menchined vessel:--“

Iris and Bonetta

            On July 25, 1799, the Iris logbook states: “At ½ Past 2 A.M Saw a Sail in the N.W. Quartor[. A]ll at there Quartors: -- At 3 Do. Fired a Shot and Brought Hur too: -- She Prooved to Be a Span[i]ard from St. Andera [Santander[3]] Bound to river Plato[.[4]] Man[ne]d hur and Sent Hur for Liverpool. At 3 Hove too at ½ Past 11 Made Sail” This is the capture of the Spanish ship Bonetta as a prize. See the entry for August 7th when she reaches Liverpool.


            On July 27, 1799, the Iris logbook states: “At 6. P.M. Saw a Sail in the S.E. Quartor Laying too[.] Boreaway after Do. --  At Do. Spoke Her Prooved to Bee a Dean [Dane?] from Bound to Ba[r]salona with wheate and Spars: ----------- At 10 wore Ship to the S.Wrd and Made Sail”

            On July 28, 1799, the Iris logbook states: “At 9 P.M. 2nd Ship to ye No. and Wrd. – At 8 A.M. wore Ship to ye Westward: -- At Meridian Saw a Sail to ye S.E Quartor Standing to ye Eastard[.]  All Hands to Quartors”

Iris and Ceres

            On July 29, 1799, the Iris logbook states: “At ½ Past Meridian:-- Boreaway after the Before Menchined Ship[. A]t 3 P.M. Brought Do. too: Shee Prooved to Bee a french vessell from the Isle of france Bound to Bordox: ------ At 5 Do. wore Ship to ye to ye Srd and Westward: -- Sent ye Prize for Liverpool” This is the capture of the French ship Ceres as a prize. See the entry for August 11th. The Ceres actually ended up in Milford Haven, Wales instead of Liverpool.


            On July 30, 1799, the Iris logbook states: “At 3 P.M. Saw a Sail in the S.Wst Quartor: -- At 10 A.M. Saw a Sail in the S.Wst. Quartor:-- At 10 A.M. Sent hur Boat on bord the Mary[,] Captain Connell:---”

            On August 2, 1799, the Iris logbook states: “At 7 Sprung up a Bree[ze] from ye S.Wrd.---- At 4 A.M. Saw two Sails to windward Standing to ye Eastward fired a Shot & Brought them too: -- Prooved to Bee Proshien [Prussian?] and Gave us the Account of the french fleet Being to the N.Erd. of us Standing to the N.Erd.”

Uncle Toby

Libel for Recapturing the Ship Uncle Toby, filed August 2, 1799 in District Court of the United States for the New York District.  At the time of recapture, Henry Martin believed the Uncle Toby to be worth $12,000 and the cargo of salt to be worth $3,500. While in Jamaica, Martin, Royce and Bowen were urged to libel the Uncle Toby, that a very handsome salvage would be adjudged to them, and they were assured by merchants that they were entitled to do so. After the Uncle Toby was discharged in New York, Murry & Mumford, the owners, decided to give Martin, Royce and Bowen $500 for retaking the ship and their services and these men said they would not take it.


On August 7, 1798, the Bonetta, a prize of the Iris, Lottery, Diana, Louisa and Mary arrived in Liverpool.[5]
Lloyd's List for August 9, 1799

Uncle Toby

An Answer to Libel and Claim of John Mumford and other owners was filed on August 8, 1799. Judge John Sloss Hobart ordered the Uncle Toby and her tackle, apparel and furniture be appraised by Anthony Rutgers and James Farquhoor, two Wardens of the Port of New York. They determined a value of $8,000. The judge ordered a bond of $16,000 be obtained by the owners and the Uncle Toby would be released to them.

[1] Lloyds List, dated April 16, 1799. Captain Cannon is referred to as “Connor.” There are also ships from Charleston, Martinico (2), and St. Vincent’s which were probably also part of the convoy.
[2] For the ships that left Liverpool in 1798 in the slave trade, there was an average of 6.7 deaths and 4.1 desertions.
[3] Santander, Cantabria, Spain, has an excellent harbor, part of the Bay of Santander, and is part of the largest estuary on the north coast of Spain. It is located on the larger Bay of Biscay, which is between the north coast of Spain and the west coast of France (Wikipedia, “Santander, Cantabria” and “Bay of Santander”).
[4] The River Plate, in British English, is the Rio de la Plata or “river of silver” which forms part of the border between the current countries of Argentina and Uruguay on the east coast of South America (Wikipedia, “Rio de la Plata”).
[5] Lloyd’s List, dated August 9, 1799, confirms that the “Bonetta, Prize to the Lottery and 4 other African Ships” arrived in Liverpool on August 7th. From the Iris logbook entry for August 13, 1799, the four other ships appear to be the Iris, Diana, Louisa and Mary.

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